Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.
Helping you to understand
At Gynae Solution, we will use plain language to explain what you have, what the treatment options are and what your prognosis is in terms you can understand.
What are the symptoms of Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer often does not have symptoms in its early stages. Because there are few signs in the early stages, it’s important to have regular cervical cancer screenings.
If symptoms do appear, they may include:
- Pelvic pain.
- Pain or bleeding during or after sex.
- Unusual vaginal discharge.
- Bleeding in between menstrual periods.
- Bleeding after menopause.
Below we will explain how Cervical Cancer is diagnosed and treatment options available to you.
How is Cervical Cancer diagnosed?
If one of your Pap tests comes back with abnormal results, your doctor will likely recommend additional diagnostic tests, including another Pap smear or liquid-based cytology.
Other diagnostic tests may be used, including:
- Biopsy - During a biopsy, we will remove a tiny piece of tissue from a suspicious area and a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells.
- Colposcopy - During this test, we will use a lighted instrument with magnifying binoculars (colposcope) to examine your cervix. We may also do a biopsy during the colposcopy.
- Endo-cervical curettage- This test involves taking cells or tissue from the cervical canal using a spoon-shaped tool called a curettage. Pathologists then view the tissue samples under a microscope to check for abnormalities. This may be done the same time as a colposcopy.
- Cone biopsy - If tests show abnormal cells but it is not clear whether you have cancer, we may remove a larger piece of tissue from the cervix. This procedure, called a cone biopsy, may also be used as early treatment for cervical cancer to remove any cancerous or precancerous cells.
If we believe that your cancer may have spread, we may also order imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans or MRIs.
Listening to you
It's important to find a consultant who will listen to your concerns to help explain and answer any questions you might have.
How is Cervical Cancer treated?
Every patient at Gynae Solution receives a personalised treatment plan put together by our specialist gynaecologist oncologist.
Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the cancer, but also fits you as a patient. We will consider your specific diagnosis and type of cancer, the stage of disease, size and location of cancer cells and whether it has spread to other parts of your body.
Surgery is usually the first step to treating cervical cancer. It is often the only treatment needed for pre-cancers or early-stage cervical cancers.
In many cases, gynaecological cancers can be treated with minimally invasive or robotic surgeries. As leaders in gynaecological cancer, Gynae Solution has one of the largest minimally invasive gynaecological surgical programs in the region.
Gynae Solution also takes a multi-specialty approach to gynaecological surgeries, and we will collaborate with surgery specialists from different treatment areas to help create a comprehensive care plan for you.
Surgery to treat cervical cancer may include:
- Cryosurgery - This involves freezing tissue to kill cancer cells.
- Cone biopsy (conization)
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) - During this procedure, surgeons send an electrical current through a thin wire loop to remove cancerous tissue.
- Hysterectomy - During this procedure, surgeons will remove the entire uterus and cervix. In some cases, surgeons will also remove some surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. If the surgeons also remove part of the vagina, this is known as a radical hysterectomy. Our surgeons are trained in conducting these procedures with minimally-invasive techniques, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery techniques.
- Total pelvic exenteration - This is a radical procedure that is only used for women with cancer that has spread beyond the uterus, and who have limited treatment options. During this procedure, surgeons remove all the reproductive organs. In some cases, surgeons may also remove the rectum, urethra and bladder. If you are undergoing pelvic exenteration, your care team will work with you on options to reconstruct any organs that are removed, so you can continue to live a full life after treatment.
After surgery for cervical cancer, we will help you through enhanced recovery after surgery.
In some cases, your care team may decide to combine surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This will depend on many factors, including the location of your cancer, how aggressive it is, and whether it has spread to another part of the body.